The Honor Code

“I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this piece of work, nor have I knowingly tolerated any violation of the Honor Code.”

What is the Honor Code?

The McDaniel College Honor Code is a contract between students and faculty based on the conviction that academic integrity is important to the community. Simply stated, students pledge honesty—to do their own work and not cheat. In addition, students pledge to report others who violate the Honor Code. Faculty agree to set clear guidelines at the beginning of each course about what is expected of each student, to take appropriate steps to discourage cheating, and to refer alleged violations to the McDaniel College Honor and Conduct Board.

Why do we have an Honor Code?


About 40 years ago, McDaniel College students petitioned the faculty for a system that would trust students to behave honorably. The faculty responded, and the Honor Code was born. The Honor Code is an important aspect of the McDaniel College experience.  Over the years students and faculty alike have reaffirmed their commitment to the Code.

What is the meaning of the Honor Code?

The Honor Code affirms that honest people are the most important elements of a good community. It assumes that all students accepted for enrollment at McDaniel College believe in and practice academic integrity, which is central to the pursuit of knowledge.  As a community, we are committed to the ideals of personal integrity and community honor.  The rights of the honest majority must be protected against the actions of individuals acting dishonestly.

What is the history of the Honor Code at McDaniel College?

In the 1960s the student body developed a procedure for accepting responsibility for academic honesty. Initially, the system created an all-student Honor Board of 30 members. In 1975 the faculty and student body voted to change the Code in two ways: to include faculty as well as students on the Honor Board and to broaden the scope of the Code to include library borrowing privileges. In 1998 and 1999, students and faculty extensively reviewed concerns about the effectiveness of the honor system and engaged in wide-ranging discussions about the role and importance of the Honor Code at McDaniel College. In May 1999, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to the honor system and agreed to strengthen the Code by adding a statement to the pledge that requires students’ full participation.

What are examples of Honor Code violations?

• Cheating on tests, quizzes or homework, or giving unauthorized help to others.

• Plagiarism—the use of another person’s work, facts or ideas, including computer programs or information from the Internet, without proper acknowledgement

• Submitting a copy of a paper or substantially the same paper in different courses without permission of the instructors

• Misuse of computing or library resources and borrowing privileges

Do I really have to turn in a fellow student if I observe a violation?

Yes.  As members of a community based on trust, students must be willing to face difficult situations, including uncomfortable confrontations with friends and classmates.  If students do not, the Honor Code becomes meaningless. Others can help in dealing with these confrontations—student members of the Honor and Conduct Board, faculty advisers, and friends. All of us want a trusting and caring community. We want personal freedom, but we recognize the need for community standards, the most important of which is integrity. In the end, the effectiveness of the Honor Code depends on each community member.

What are the penalties for Honor Code violations?

Ordinarily, an “F” in the course is the minimum penalty. In the past several years, the Board has assigned an “F” in the course in almost all instances of plagiarism. On rare occasions when the Board finds significant mitigating circumstances or the violation is of minor significance in the course, a lesser penalty may be assigned. In some flagrant cases and in all cases of a second violation, the minimum penalty is suspension from the College.

What happens if a student allegedly violates the Honor Code?

The faculty member teaching the course sends information about an alleged infraction to the Provost who refers the matter to the Honor and Conduct Board if he/she believes the evidence warrants a hearing. The Honor and Conduct Board, composed of two students, two faculty members and the Dean of Student Affairs, notifies the accused student of the allegation and schedules a hearing. The Honor and Conduct Board holds the hearing according to the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. Following the hearing, the Honor and Conduct Board decides whether the student is responsible for violating the Honor Code, and if so, assigns appropriate sanctions. The student has the ability to appeal the Board’s findings and/or sanctions. The appeal process is outlined in the Student Handbook